Give Your Customers The Novel Foods They Want – Safely

By Margaret Spence Krewen

With the globalization of the food supply and consumer demand for more global food sources, there has been a growing consumer demand for “novel foods” from around the world. For operators in the food retail and foodservice sectors, this carries an extra food safety risk.

The Canadian Food and Drug Regulations defines novel foods as “a substance, including a microorganism that does not have a history of safe use as a food (and) a food that has been manufactured, prepared, preserved or packaged by a process that has either not been previously applied to that food, or causes the food to undergo a major change.”

In Canada, the Canadian government oversees food processing and manufacturing procedures, but not the food retail and foodservice sectors.  These operators are inspected by Public Health Inspectors (or Environmental Health Officers) who conduct inspections based on their jurisdiction’s food regulation.  The issue is that provincial food regulations do not have requirements for the safe food handling and preparation of novel foods.  Therefore it is up to operators to create a HACCP plan which ensures food safety.  Here are some examples of steps you can take to protect consumer safety when dealing with “novel foods”:

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